Sometimes a haunting memory in my quiet mind, or a triggering moment can send me into a black hole of depression. I withdraw from everything. The world, my friends, my wife and children and live alone in my head with these tormenting thoughts on a loop. I have suffered with these departures from reality, since I was about twelve or so. I could never really explain them well or figure out how to define them to others, but I always hated being stuck in one. It took me well into adulthood and with the help of therapy to even understand what was happening to me. I suffer from dissociative disorder from childhood trauma. You can literally yell in my face without any reaction from me because I am just not there. Later I learned how to identify my triggers, and steer clear of them. I have not had a depressive episode in a long time, until this past week.
I was going through old pictures for a former boss of mine who was celebrating twenty years in business. She was hoping for pictures from when she first opened to celebrate the then and now, and I knew that I had some. I went through box after box and several photo albums with my middle daughter. We went from laughing at pictures of her and her sisters each going through their own angst stages to tearing up at their baby pictures when they had chubby legs and curly hair. Of course there were plenty of pictures of my wife before transition that she wishes didn’t exist, but we choose to wait until she was at work to look at anything. My daughter turned to me and said, “Didi looks so miserable,” to which I replied, “She was. Living with gender dysphoria and not knowing it will do that to a person.”
"THAT WAS IT. THAT TRIGGERED MY SELF-LOATHING AND SENT ME INTO A DEPRESSION HOLE."
Then we came across a bunch of my wedding proofs. Without a doubt, one of the happiest days of my life. Looking at the smile on my face reminded me of how I felt on that day. All the hard work we put into planning each and every moment and including many special people who are no longer with us today. I used to love looking at my wedding photos, but now they just make me sad. My daughter said, “one day you both will renew your wedding vows and you will have new pictures to admire.” I mumbled some kind of negative comment back like, “we will never have the money to give Didi the kind of wedding that she wants.” Then without even thinking about it out of my mouth comes, “and I will never look this beautiful again in my entire life.” That was it. That triggered my self-loathing and sent me into a depression hole.
Thinking about the past few years since my wife started hormone replacement therapy, every year she seems to look younger and younger. While watching the reflection that stairs back at me from the mirror each morning, I see myself getting older and older. Realizing that I might look like an old hag by the time we have “extra money” to have another wedding actually made my stomach flip over. We need to replace the siding on the house, the roof, the driveway, and we need a new oil burner. I will need a new car in the next year or two, the little one has to go to college and by the time we are done paying that off, my oldest will be ready to walk down the aisle herself. This vow renewal is a pipe dream, no, it feels more like a nightmare. Picturing my wife in ten years with beautiful, not wrinkled and glowing skin and perky new breasts just makes me feel like an ogre.
"I WANT TO BE ABLE TO GIVE HER ALL THOSE THINGS THAT SHE MISSED OUT ON, BUT I AM NOT SURE HOW TO MAKE THIS DREAM COME TO FRUITION."
I never thought of myself as vain so I can't really explain these feelings; however, the facts are the facts. As it stands now she is two and a half years younger than I am. Add to that the hormones that she takes on a daily basis as mine are being depleted. The years of abuse and injury that my body went through from dancing all my life are now rearing their ugly head and some days my right knee just shuts down, other days its my hips, or my back. Walking is just about impossible. So the vision in my head of this gorgeous bride walking down the aisle to an old lady waiting at the other end is a huge problem in my mind. Without money for a facelift or botox, I feel like I’m pretty screwed. I want her to have the wedding of her dreams. I want to be able to give her all those things that she missed out on, but I am not sure how to make this dream come to fruition.
Sometimes I find it quite bizarre that my wife’s transition can bring out such strange feelings and emotions in me. We were just supposed to age gracefully together, but now that seems out of reach. I will age, and she will look younger every year. I have no solution to this dilemma other than winning the lottery so we can have enough money to fix the house, put number three through college, buy me a new car, and have the wedding of her dreams. Wish me luck, I’m going to the convenience store.